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Greek Orange Cake (Portokalopita)

Greek Orange Cake (Portokalopita) Recipe

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Greek Orange Cake, also known as Portokalopita, is a delightful dessert featuring layers of crispy phyllo dough soaked in a sweet orange syrup. This cake is both refreshing and rich, making it a perfect choice for any occasion. The combination of orange zest and a hint of cinnamon in the syrup gives this cake an aromatic and irresistible flavor.

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Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 (15 oz) package phyllo dough
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Syrup:

  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

1. Prepare the Phyllo Dough

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Dry Out the Phyllo Dough: Remove the phyllo dough from its packaging and let it dry out slightly. Spread it out on a clean surface for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes slightly crisp. Tear the phyllo dough into small pieces and set aside.

2. Make the Cake Batter

  1. Mix the Wet Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy.
  2. Add Remaining Wet Ingredients: Add the vegetable oil, Greek yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract to the egg mixture. Mix well until smooth and fully combined.
  3. Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder and salt.
  4. Incorporate the Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until just combined.

3. Assemble the Cake

  1. Fold in the Phyllo Dough: Carefully fold the torn phyllo dough pieces into the batter, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  2. Pour into Baking Dish: Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread it out evenly.

4. Bake the Cake

  1. Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  2. Cool: Allow the cake to cool slightly in the baking dish while you prepare the syrup.

5. Make the Syrup

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Boil the Syrup: Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Cool the Syrup: Remove the syrup from heat and let it cool slightly.

6. Syrup the Cake

  1. Pour the Syrup: Once the cake has cooled slightly but is still warm, pour the warm syrup evenly over the top of the cake, ensuring it soaks in completely.
  2. Let it Absorb: Allow the cake to sit for at least 1 hour, or until the syrup is fully absorbed and the cake is moist.

7. Serve

  1. Slice and Serve: Cut the cake into squares or diamond shapes and serve. Enjoy your delicious Greek Orange Cake with a cup of coffee or tea.

Cook’s Notes and Variations

Tips:

  • Phyllo Dough: Make sure the phyllo dough is slightly dry before tearing it into pieces; this helps it absorb the batter better.
  • Orange Juice: For a more intense orange flavor, use freshly squeezed orange juice.

Variations:

  1. Nutty Delight: Add chopped walnuts or pistachios to the batter for added texture and flavor.
  2. Chocolate Twist: Drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top of the cake before serving for a rich twist.
  3. Citrus Medley: Add a mix of lemon and orange zest for a more complex citrus flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I make this cake ahead of time?

A: Yes, Greek Orange Cake can be made a day in advance. Store it covered at room temperature. The flavors often improve as it sits.

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Q: Can I use pre-made orange syrup?

A: While you can use pre-made syrup, making your own with fresh ingredients will give you a more authentic and flavorful result.

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Q: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to a week.

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Q: Can I freeze this cake?

A: Yes, you can freeze the cake. Wrap individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

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Q: Can I use other types of yogurt?

A: Yes, you can use other types of yogurt, but Greek yogurt is recommended for its thicker consistency and richer flavor.

Greek Orange Cake is a wonderful dessert that brings a taste of Greece to your table. Its unique texture and vibrant citrus flavor make it a standout dish for any occasion. Enjoy this delightful cake with family and friends, and savor the sweet and aromatic blend of orange and cinnamon.

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